In Memoriam: Ronald S. Hafner


by Kathy Shingleton

Longtime Health Physics Society member Ronald Stanley Hafner passed away peacefully on 6 May 2020. Ron was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on 20 November 1945. His family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when Ron was a boy and he graduated from Alameda High School in 1962. After a stint in the Air Force, Ron went to work at Sandia National Laboratory where he met his wife of 44 years, Judy Hafner.

After 10 years at Sandia, Ron went to work for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where he worked for the rest of his career. Ron spent many years at the Tritium Facility and became well-known for his in-depth knowledge of tritium. He readily assisted those with out-of-the-ordinary questions about tritium, earning him the moniker "Mr. Tritium." Due to his genial manner and expertise, Ron was asked to participate in many cross-organization programmatic reviews. He retired from LLNL in October 2007 as the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease started to take their toll. However, he continued to work as a visiting scientist as needed to help out.

Apart from his LLNL work, Ron volunteered as a cooperative weather observer for the National Weather Service for more than 30 years. Early in his career at Sandia, Ron noticed that his experimental results were different depending on the weather the night before, so he began regularly calling an official local weather observer to obtain the specific local weather data. When this weather observer retired, Ron was invited to carry on, so he established an official National Weather Service station in his back yard. Each day he recorded the temperature and rainfall amounts at 6 pm and, before computers, mailed in a report once a week. Once computers were available, he uploaded the data once a month.

Ron is survived by his wife Judy of Livermore, California, and their son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Amanda Hafner of Auburn, Washington.